AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa, who reportedly slapped DMK lawmaker Trichy Siva at Delhi airport on Saturday, claimed on Monday that she was slapped by a "leader" and faced threat to life in Tamil Nadu, alleging she was being forced to quit Rajya Sabha.
Sasikala has now been expelled from her party. Her expulsion, for bringing disrepute to the party, was announced minutes after she made her statement on the floor of the House in Rajya Sabha. But that should make her happy because she remains an MP, though "unattached", till her term ends in April 2020.
An unsung MP from Tamil Nadu till three days back, Sasikala became known to the wider world when she hit the headlines for thrashing an MP, Tiruchi Siva, from rival DMK at security check at IGI airport in New Delhi, because she claimed the MP from the other party had exceeded all limits in criticising Amma and her government. Interestingly, while this incident took place in full public view, neither of them complained to the police. Siva missed that flight, which he was supposed to take with Sasikala for Chennai and took another flight.
Soon after proceedings began, Pushpa rushed into the Well of the House to make her statement. After she was sent back, she alleged, "I have a threat to my life, and I am being compelled to resign from my Constitutional post. I will not do it. I have been harassed and slapped by a party leader.” She broke down in tears while speaking.
"If you have any complaint, you are free to approach the Honourable Chairman,” Deputy Chairman P J Kurien told her. Pushpa continued, "You have to give me dignity Sir. If a MP is slapped, where is human dignity. I need protection.”
As she found support in opposition members who wanted the chair to allow her to make her full submission, A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) walked into the well of the House and demanded that her remarks be expunged. "I have life threat... I am being compelled to resign from my constitutional post," she said. "Where is women's safety in this country? I am being harassed. I need protection. In Tamil Nadu, I don't have safety. There is threat to my life."
Pushpa said she was thankful to her party leader for sending her to Rajya Sabha but "if a leader can slap an MP, I need protection. I need government's protection."
"I want to serve the country (and not resign)," she said. "I am not here in Rajya Sabha for any benefit."
Asking her to write to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said, "Don’t narrate or say anything which amounts to allegations against anybody who cannot come here and protect (themselves). If you have a personal problem, that only you can say.” "There is no personal problem, but it is the privilege of an MP to speak,” Pushpa replied.
Kurien assured that the government would take care of Pushpa and provide protection if necessary. "I can assure on behalf of the Chairman, we will do the needful in the matter. If she needs protection, government will take care of it,” he said.
Later, she was expelled from the party by AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa for "anti-party activities" and for 'bringing a bad name' to the party.
Pushpa had been elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2014. At the time, she had been Mayor of Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi. In January, Jayalalithaa had removed Pushpa as the AIADMK's women's wing secretary, a key post.